Volume 96, Issue 2, April 2019
Reasons and Rationality
Julia Jael Smith, Benjamin Wald
We argue that the evolutionary function of reasoning is to allow us to secure more accurate beliefs and more effective intentions through collective deliberation. This sets our view apart both from traditional intellectualist accounts, which take the evolutionary function to be individual deliberation, and from interactionist accounts such as the one proposed by Mercier and Sperber, which agrees that the function of reasoning is collective but holds that it aims to disseminate, rather than come up with, accurate beliefs. We argue that our collectivized intellectualism offers the best explanation of the range of biases that human reasoning is prone to, and that it does better than interactionism at offering a function of reasoning that would have been adaptive for our distant ancestors who first evolved this capacity.